365 Places: Connecting Nodes

Day 80: Finding more connections.

A friend recently sent me a blog post which had relevance to some of my earlier posts about making connections between worlds: especially my post about the Yorta Yorta people and their work with scientists in Barmah National Park.

Making connections

Making connections

This particular post titled tcg’s 10 ways Social Media and Sustainability Align in the Corporate World by Alasdair Munn focuses on how social media and environmental sustainability have some synergies that align in the corporate world. Very interesting connection I must say and one that resonated for me. The blog post was inspired by another post about these two topics by Max Gladwell titled, Ten Ways that Social Media and Sustainability Align.

Munn says:

Most definitions for social media focus on its technologies; however this is a very static and limited view. At tcg we acknowledge that social media is a growing phenomenon enabled through adaptable technology; however, it is also about connecting people and facilitating collaboration, engagement, learning and the progression of ideas.

I definitely agree that often people get ‘social media’ confused with the technology or platform they are using, when in fact it is about the social behaviours of engagement, sharing and collaboration between individuals and communities online.

He then states that when it comes to defining sustainability, there are a number of definitions out there, which vary widely:

The World Commission on Environment and Development suggests that sustainability is defined as forms of progress that meet “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”

I rather like the definition of environmental sustainability by Griffith University:

Environmental sustainability refers to the environmental actions or impacts of what we do. In moving towards sustainability, we are attempting to reduce our ecological footprint or to tread more lightly on the Earth. This equates to reducing the amount of resources we use (and buy), the waste we produce and the emissions we produce. With every action impacting on the planets ecosystems, from the local to the global, the world is changing and it is not just the climate.”

I like the fact that Munn links both entities as practices that started as grass roots movements, which have grown corporate legs, getting mainstream buy-in over time. He says:

For example, social media tools and applications, developed for social networking sites, have grown to have wider commercial uses. Think about how Facebook radically changed how organizations aggregate news stories and information through the introduction of news feed. The sustainability movement started out as a co-op for sourcing bio diesel fuel or sustainable produce and has escalated to achieving mainstream attention and buy in.

The other thing that Munn acknowledges is that there needs to be a system thinking approach. This is so true when we think about sustainability, and why it is so important to learn from cultures who consider their environment as intrinsic to all other aspects of life, as discussed about the Yorta Yorta people.

When we consider success in terms of social media engagement, cross channel or cross media approaches work best: as this approach has the biggest reach and provides the best opportunity to communication to people ‘where they are’.

The last paragraph of the article sums up the importance of thinking holistically and having an integrated approach:

Rolling out a sustainability program within a corporation takes hard work, determination, communication and commitment. Social media tools and applications help with the integration, communication, learning, participation and momentum. Once these elements are sorted out internally, the same social media tools and applications can be used to externalize the message and objectives. Adopting a social media strategy within and organization so that it truly integrates all elements only works if it follows a sustainable model. Tagging on bits of technology, or trying to participate in social media externally to the organization cannot lead to lasting or holistic results.

I love to think about these nodes of connection as they are about inclusion and the overlapping of knowledge or being. Western ways of thinking have long promoted silos, separated categories of knowledge that do not have relationships to other concepts or ‘fields’ of knowledge.

Claire Gregory's Permaculture gardenCC BY-SA 3.0

Claire Gregory’s Permaculture garden CC BY-SA 3.0

For some reason I am now thinking of the difference between mono-agrilcultural methods compared to the practice of permaculture gardening. One method strips the soil bare of nutrients and the other continually feeds over the seasons by way of planting different crops and building layers of nutrients which feed and enrich the ground and the plants in it. Finding the connections between different worlds has the same benefits, by being open to different stories and experiences our own knowledge of the world grow and blooms. Must be time to get out in the garden!